Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No More Talking/Texting While Driving

Agence France Press reports that a Canadian company, Aegis Mobility, has created new technology called DriveAssist that intercepts phone calls and text messages while a person is driving.

DriveAssist uses GPS and other technologies to detect if the person is moving at a speed which indicates he is in a car.

Many jurisdictions like New York and Connecticut forbid talking on a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device like a speaker phone or bluetooth headset because of distractions associated with such activity. Even this restriction however isn't foolproof because one still has to look at the screen to dial.

Smart phones such as the iPhone complicate matters because I often look at Google Maps and directions while I'm driving.

I think DriveAssist is a good feature. Unfortunately it is being offered on a carrier-by-carrier basis for a monthly fee.

I think that this creates a potential legal problem for carriers and handset manufacturers. If blocking calls from those that are driving is considered a safety feature then not including it in a phone or service plan for free may be considered a product defect.

As such carriers/manufactures may become liable to those who are injured by customers who used phones that lacked such blocking features.

Obama Advertises in a Video Game

Campaign ads for presidential candidate Sen. Barak Obama are appearing in the the video game Burnout Paradise.

Roadside billboard advertising in the real world is nothing new. Images stay with us as we cruise down the ashphalt highway. I think the impact is even greater in a video game because players are more engaged with what they are seeing on screen.

Obviously there are people at the Obama campaign are really thinking about how to engage with younger voters.

In game ad revenue also is a smart move by game publishers. GigaOm confirmed with Electronic Arts that the Obama campaign purchased the spots through them.

As a parent who recently purchased a Wii for my son, I wonder though how I would feel about ads for McDonalds or other companies appearing while my son is playing Wii Tennis? Kids are marketed to too much already, and there need to be some areas that are just ad free.

Perhaps in the future we'll be seeing games being sold in ad-supported and ad-free versions. The latter costing a little bit more of course.